An Empirical Assessment of the Contract Based Exception to the Employment-At-Will Rule

Source: Rafael Gely, Robin Cheramie, Timothy Chandler, University of Missouri School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2016-13, 2016

From the abstract:
While extensive, the existing literature on the employment-at-will doctrine and its various exceptions has been remarkably uniform. By relying on a discussion of selected court opinions on specific aspects of the doctrine, scholars have focused primarily on normative issues such as what the courts should do when deciding job security disputes, or what plaintiffs/employees and defendants/employers should argue when litigating employment disputes. Our approach and focus are different. Instead of relying on a discussion of selected cases, we rely on a more comprehensive sample of cases. Instead of focusing on normative issues, our goal is to provide a more complete picture of the state of the at-will doctrine as reflected in those cases. Our data should be of interest to legal scholars interested in understanding the characteristics and outcomes of litigated employment-at-will cases. Our data should also be relevant to the current debate among management scholars regarding conflicts that might arise due to aggressive recruitment practices which highlight long term employment opportunities and the realities associated with at-will employment.